“I want to be able to apply solutions for our clients/partners and see that we have made a difference…”
Meet Lee Picano, VCA’s founder and chief of technology. Actually, Lee’s experience and roles are, as he explains, “tightly woven into the fabric of VCA.”
Lee’s entrepreneurial and vital spirit was evident early in his life.
The insurance connection was a natural for Lee; his father had been an insurance adjuster, and Lee participated in conversations – and often activities – to help his father as he grew up. Lee describes how on many nights, he helped his dad review surveillance footage for insurance reports, affectionately calling it the family ‘popcorn and video’ night.
Lee’s father instilled in him a strong work ethic, as well as a substantial knowledge base of the insurance industry, and Lee worked with his dad for over 3 years as an insurance adjuster. Yet, he was eager to break out on his own, independently, and make a mark.
Lee saw almost immediately how technology could be an answer for many of the issues that insurance companies struggled with in the 2000s. He recognized how the industry was mired in old practices, lagging behind other industries eager to embrace new solutions. After working with insurance carriers and observing where their pain points were, Lee recognized how IT could play an important role. Lee immersed himself in learning software design and development, graduating at the top of his class from the Canadian Institute of Computer Technology. He then further expanded his experiences, becoming lead developer and then team lead at two tech companies, including Toronto’s ProServeIT for over a decade.
The merging of Lee’s insurance experiences, with the deep knowledge of how technology can help provide business solutions, became the fertile ground upon which Virtual Claims Adjuster would grow. Lee placed his efforts, energy and intrinsic knowledge of the industry and its pain points into the birth of VCA Software. When an insurance industry magazine did a piece on the growing company and its work with insurance companies, it sparked enough interest that Lee realized the tremendous value that technology would have for the future of insurance. This was 2002.
Software-as-a-Service did not exist. Yet Lee’s instinct was that if he could convince insurance companies to trust that data can be stored in the cloud, insurers would see great benefits. The upsides for the risk-averse insurance industry were not having to worry about issues like uptime, data storage, backups and liabilities. Lee would market his technology solutions as a new business model specifically for the insurance industry.
“Many companies are focused on revenue. At VCA, we stay focused on client experiences and opportunities that can help their growth.”
Fast-forward to today. As Lee looks back, he sees the dramatic changes: what took an average of 16 days to work through Lloyd’s Bordereau requirements, now takes minutes. What took adjusters 4-5 months to finish after Hurricane Katrina hit, is now 3-6 weeks. And today, with VCA, what used to take claims handlers 4 days, is automatically and instantly assigned through VCA software.
Throughout the development of VCA, the main mission that remained ingrained in everything Lee set forth to do was seeing the client not as a source of revenue, but as a partner. The focus for Lee and his team is client experience. Maintaining communication, empowering support personnel to developing relationships with clients so problems are solved quickly, and offering speedy resolutions to problems, remains a big differentiator between VCA and other insuretech providers.
What about the future? What will the 2020’s hold? Simple. Making clients’ lives easier and more productive. “We are focused on opportunities that help our clients grow. We will continue to expand features and functionalities and innovations to increase their efficiencies – and billing hours.“
On a personal note, Lee and his wife just celebrated 25 years of marriage and have three children. The family likes to be active, which has been challenging during Covid. Hiking nearby with their two Australian shepherds is top of their list, and the family plans to travel, another passion, as soon as circumstances allow. Lee is also a big car aficionado and often takes his favorite car to local car shows.